What is it about?

In hour-long interviews, thirty women over 65 were asked to reflect on their experiences of menopause and their decisions to use menopausal hormone therapy. All of them believed they benefitted from ongoing therapy, risks were rarely mentioned, and none had plans to quit. Doctors had been influential in convincing them to start hormones; however, these women were the main drivers of continued use.

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Why is it important?

When users of menopausal hormone therapy believe it keeps them youthful and helps prevent disease, they fear quitting. Long-term therapy is associated with increased risks for breast and ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and incontinence. These risks are greater over time.


The hormone industry persistently places articles in professional and lay publications arguing that menopausal hormone therapy, when started early, extends life and prevents disease. The risks of long-term use are downplayed or not mentioned at all. A more cautious approach to treating menopause symptoms is criticized as unempathetic, cruel, and lacking in supporting evidence. This promotional narrative runs counter to messages from non-industry-funded sources. Conflicting information enables consumers to remain unconvinced by science that supports using hormones according to established guidelines--science that tells them to quit systemic estrogen by age 60.

Mary Hunter
University of California San Francisco

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: "I’m going to stay young":  Belief in anti-aging efficacy of menopausal hormone therapy drives prolonged use despite medical risks, PLoS ONE, May 2020, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233703.
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